Dan Feldman

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Brandon Ingram wipes hands on referee (video)

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Marc Davis, what are you doing? You can’t let Brandon Ingram disrespect you like that.

Via Def Pen Hoops:

Which John Wall play was more impressive in Wizards’ win over Heat?

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John Wall scored 27 points in the Wizards’ 102-93 win over the Heat tonight, but his most impressive highlights came without him scoring.

Which was more impressive?

Wall nutmegging Hassan Whiteside in the open court to start a Washington fastbreak finished by Otto Porter:

Or Wall running hard to block Tyler Johnson‘s transition layup from behind:

Kyrie Irving: ‘I’m not eating a whole bunch of animals anymore. Once you become awake, you don’t see that stuff anymore’

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Kyrie Irving is “very much woke.”

So woke, in fact, he has become a vegan.

Irving, via Tom Haberstroh of Bleacher Report:

“It works,” Irving tells B/R Mag. “I mean, I’m not eating a whole bunch of animals anymore. Once you become awake, you don’t see that stuff anymore.”

Veganism is fine. John Salley has long-advocated for NBA players to become vegan. Damian Lillard has embraced the diet. Haberstroh explores it in depth.

But “Once you become awake, you don’t see that stuff anymore”?

Stay weird, Kyrie.

At least he and the Celtics are playing so well, his quirkiness is lovable. If he and Boston fall off, his shtick might not seem so amusing.

Report: 76ers, Robert Covington finalizing $62 million renegotiation-and-extension

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The 76ers found a steal in Robert Covington when they signed him to a four-year, team-friendly contract three years ago. Covington has blossomed into one of the NBA’s better 3-and-D forwards, and at 26, he’s in his prime.

Philadelphia won’t let him hit free agency.

Covington became eligible for a renegotiation-and-extension today, and to the surprise of nobody considering how much cap space the 76ers saved for just this occasion, the deal will soon become official.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington is finalizing the framework of a four-year, $62 million contract extension, league sources told ESPN.

Covington has a $1,577,230 salary this season. With $15,120,873 in cap space, the 76ers can bump his salary up to $16,698,103 for this season. His salary in the first year of his extension, which would begin in 2018-19, must land between 60% and 120% of his salary last season. His salary in each subsequent season in the extension can rise or fall by 8% of his 2018-19 salary.

Presumably, the 76ers will use all their remaining cap space to renegotiate Covington’s salary this season. What better use do they have for it? In exchange, Covington will accept less than his perceived market value over the four years of the extension – which means taking a big drop next season.

Here’s a guess at the structure of Covington’s contract:

2017-18: $1,577,230 $16,698,103

2018-19: $10,018,862

2019-20: $10,820,371

2020-21: $11,621,880

2021-22: $12,423,389

That’s the maximum renegotiation this season, the maximum drop next season and the maximum increase in each subsequent season. It’s a a total of $61,582,604, right in line with Wojnarowski’s reporting. I wouldn’t count the money Covington was already due this season, but whoever leaked this information might. Perhaps, the drop next season won’t be quite the maximum 40%, though.

No matter the exact terms, this is a savvy use of cap space by the 76ers, who will have more financial flexibility during the primes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as a result of paying Covington more now.

Nerlens Noel hanging on thread of Mavericks rotation

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Nerlens Noel‘s last four games:

  • Six minutes
  • DNP-CD
  • Two minutes
  • Five minutes

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

“Look, minutes have to be earned,” Carlisle said. “At this point, if it’s between him and Salah, Salah has earned the minutes. There’s no doghouse here. There just isn’t. It’s pretty simple: You compete, and if you earn minutes, you get minutes. And you’ve got to compete to keep them, because it’s a competitive situation.”

Noel, via MacMahon:

“I’m good, I’m good,” Noel said. “I’m a very self-confident player. I know I can go in there and change games. When my number is called, I’ll do just that and help some winning efforts. That’s all my play style is about, is just winning. When I’m called on, I’ll bring my winning effort.”

The Mavericks reportedly thought Noel was worth $17.5 million annually last summer. Now, he can barely get playing time on a 2-13 team?

This is why players who sign the qualifying offer, like Noel did last summer, rarely re-sign the following offseason.

Noel makes a lot of plays defensively – some good, some bad. He needs playing time to refine his impressive tools. If they had him locked up long-term, the Mavericks probably would have more interest in developing him. As is, they could be leery of helping him just so another team reaps the rewards next season.

Though he’s saying all the right things, Noel would rightfully be frustrated by this situation. He has only one year to prove himself before unrestricted free agency, and he’s mostly stuck to the bench. The team with his Bird Rights, intentionally or not, is suppressing his value.

Dallas has a surplus of centers: Noel, Dirk Nowitzki, Salah Mejri, Dwight Powell and Jeff Withey. Mejri is playing very well right now, and Nowitzki is grandfathered minutes.

Noel will eventually get more playing time. Perhaps, this tough love benefits him long-term.

But this isn’t pretty right now.